Leading Idea: Creating and Making

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In this first story of creation God is busily engaged in creating the world. What is creating? Is creating something different from making something? In the Torah, the verb בָּרָא is used to speak of bringing into existence something entirely new, astonishing or wonderous, and unforeseen – for example, (i) when speaking to Moses at Sinai of wonders he will create that have never before appeared ( Shemot 34:10) and (ii) in Bamidbar (16:30) when Moses uses it to warn Dathan and Abiram to describe the punishment God will deliver to those involved in Korach’s rebellion as something entirely new and unheard of – never before seen (opening the earth to swallow the people). Torah also leaves creation in the God’s hands – people make, God can creates. This has led people to see creation as being the (Divine) ability to produce a result (something) out of nothing. Whereas Human ‘Making’ requires prior raw materials, ‘creation’ does not.

What does it mean to create something entirely new? Something without precedent? Something astonishing in its newness? To see the creation of the world this way is to open it up to a new attentive wonder. This discussion plan explores this sense of creation.

Induction piece: As an induction piece we suggest the first discussion plan “Making and Creating” as it opens up the range of ways ‘making’ something can happen and gets students thinking about what the difference between making and creating is – and thus to think harder about what the characteristics of ‘creating something’ are. If you do this, make sure to link this to the text they will be reading. While this will narrow the scope of what they might look to see as interesting in the text, you can follow this with a less directed reading in another lesson. We urge you to read the text on induction pieces n the section on leading ideas.